Police cannot do their jobs without the support of the communities they serve, says Jamie Adjetey-Nelson (BA 2007, B.Ed 2009). That’s why he believes his appointment this month as diversity, inclusion, and recruitment outreach officer for Windsor Police Services is such a crucial role.
“The value of diversity and inclusion has always been there,” he says. “It’s key for us to maintain communication with marginalized and racialized groups — and representation is part of that.”
Adjetey-Nelson took on the job after serving first as a patrol officer and more recently in Windsor Police’s community service branch. He says his training in education provided a grounding for police work.
“When you’re a high school liaison officer, you’re not there to police the kids,” he says. “It’s like being a teacher. You talk to them about drugs, about safety, about being aware, as well as the law.”
In trying to be relatable, he draws on his own experiences as a Black man and as a world-class athlete who won gold in the decathlon at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, earned Lancer male athlete of the year honours in 2009, and was inducted into the Alumni Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.
“The first part I always try to do is humanize police officers,” says Adjetey-Nelson. “It helps when you start telling about yourself and where you came from.
“I let them know I was an athlete, I was on student council, I was in choir. I’m more than just a uniform.”
He says recruiting isn’t about convincing someone they want to become a police officer: “It’s about talking to them about what they want to do.”
For Adjetey-Nelson, his motivation was wanting people to feel secure.
“We need people to feel safe to communicate with police,” he says. “It’s about being open to discussion.”
And for that, he says, the police service must reflect the entire community.
“A lot of people, when they talk about diversity, it’s about ethnicity, but the word has many meanings,” Adjetey-Nelson says. “It’s what that person brings in their life in general that’s diverse.”
A lesson he drew from his UWindsor days is that no effort is wasted.
“The University is huge, and no part is too small to a make contribution,” he observes. “Everything I do helps to the success of the organization as a whole.”
He invites educators, colleagues, and peers to send his way anyone they think would make a good police officer: “I’ll mentor anyone who wants to be mentored.”